Frequently Asked Questions
What is therapy?
Emotional distress and life struggles are a natural part of what makes us human. However, sometimes problems can feel overwhelming, confusing or disturbing, and overwhelm our ability to cope. It may begin to feel like struggling through quick sand - the more you struggle with your problems, the more stuck you feel, until it becomes hard to see a way out. Therapy can offer an alternative perspective, and a space to 'step back', process what might be happening, and find new and creative ways to overcome your difficulties.
Seeking help is a sign of strength and courage, and a sign that you are willing to face your problems head on. Please contact me to discuss your needs.
How many sessions will I need?
This is very individual and will be agreed with you at the end of the first consultation session. One way of working is to contract 6 sessions and then we will review the need for further sessions together.
What will happen in the assessment meeting(s)?
Usually the first two sessions are assessment appointments (sometimes a longer assessment period is required). During the assessment, you will have the opportunity to talk through your difficulties and concerns, and express your hopes and goals for psychological therapy. We will work together to start developing a shared understanding of your difficulties, such as why they have developed and what may contribute to them.
By the end of the assessment, we will agree on the next steps, and whether or not psychological therapy is likely to be helpful. There is no obligation for you to continue to therapy / intervention following the assessment.
Should I bring anything with me when I come for the assessment?
You do not need to bring anything with you. Some clients like to bring personal notes or diaries with them to act as aide memoirs but this is an exception rather than a rule and is by no means necessary.
Will I need to talk about my childhood?
Taking a life history can be useful in developing a clearer understanding of how difficulties might have developed, and in normalising emotional experiences which might feel confusing and troubling. In psychology, problems are often understood as reactions to, and attempts to cope with things that have happened in your life, rather than a sign that there is something inherently ‘wrong’ with your character, biology or genetics (with the potential stigma and shame this may attract). This can be helpful in understanding problems in a way which is constructive and enables you to find a way forward.
However, not everyone wishes to discuss their past in great detail, or see it as relevant to their presenting issues. It is therefore not an essential component in all therapy, and depends on your individual needs and wishes which we will establish in your initial session.
Will anyone need to know I'm coming to see you?
The service offered is entirely confidential. It is against our ethical code of conduct to discuss clients or their details in any way with any other person. There are two exceptions:
- Professional Supervision: We have regular supervision with another clinical psychologist as required in our code of conduct. We will discuss clients in these sessions in order for the supervisor to support the therapy offered and so ensure clients are receiving the best possible care. All supervision discussions are, however, anonymous.
- Risk: should any clients disclose information to us that indicates either they or another person are at risk of serious harm, we have a duty to disclose this information to a pertinent third party (e.g. GP, Social Services, next of kin if under age 16). We will never make any such disclosures however without attempting to inform the client first.
Note: If you have been referred to us in writing by another healthcare professional, it is standard practice to send that professional an assessment report following your first assessment with us, with a copy to you and to your GP. If you do not wish us to do so, you can discuss this with your psychologist when you come for assessment.
How do I go about cancelling an appointment?
Appointments cancelled by phone or email more than two working days beforehand are not charged. Cancellations with less than 2 working days’ notice, or non attendance, will be charged at the full rate because it is then difficult to offer the appointment to another client.
I’m having a particularly difficult week and could do with more support. What can I do?
We do offer additional sessions when there is a particular necessity and if there is availability. Please telephone so we can decide together whether an additional session would be helpful. It may be that we refer you to some of the material we have covered in our sessions rather than come in for an extra session. Telephone calls of this nature lasting more than 10 minutes will be charged at the telephone session rate. We will respond to any calls made during working hours (Monday-Friday 9am - 5pm). If you are calling outside of these times, you will be able to leave a message, but we will not receive it until the following working day.
What if if turns out I need help from elsewhere?
When you first telephone me to make an enquiry, we will take brief details from you about the difficulty you are experiencing before making a face-to-face assessment appointment. We will refer you elsewhere during this initial conversation if we think your needs would be better met by a different service. Clients offered an assessment appointment are usually suffering from difficulties suited to the treatments we offer. Should this turn out not to be the case, or should, during the course of therapy, particular difficulties come to light that warrant external help, we will support you to make appropriate onward referrals in the local area.